Difference between revisions of "Scotland Church Records"

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''For information about records for non-Christian religions in Scotland, go to the [[Scotland Religious Records|Religious Records]] page.''
 
''For information about records for non-Christian religions in Scotland, go to the [[Scotland Religious Records|Religious Records]] page.''
  
Church records are an excellent source for accurate information on names, dates, and places of birth, marriage, and death. Since Civil Registration in Scotland began in 1855, they are a major source for genealogical research in Scotland before 1855.   
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Church records are an excellent source for accurate information on names, dates, and places of birth, marriage, and death. Since civil registration in Scotland began in 1855, church records are a major source for genealogical research in Scotland before 1855.   
  
 
== Understanding the Records  ==
 
== Understanding the Records  ==
Line 15: Line 15:
  
 
=== Church of Scotland ===
 
=== Church of Scotland ===
''See also: [[Scotland Established (Presbyterian) Church_Records]]''
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''See also: [[Scotland Established (Presbyterian) Church Records]]''
  
The Church of Scotland (a Presbyterian church) has been the recognised national church of Scotland since 1690; it is not a state or "established" church (although that latter description has found its way into various official documentation such as marriage registers) and that independence from the state was eventually acknowledged in the Church of Scotland Act 1921. The organization of the Church of Scotland is as follows:  
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The Church of Scotland (a Presbyterian church) has been the recognised national church of Scotland since 1690. It is not a state or "established" church (although that latter description has found its way into various official documentation such as marriage registers); that independence from the state was eventually acknowledged in the Church of Scotland Act 1921. The organization of the Church of Scotland is as follows:  
  
*The General Assembly is the highest organizational body and serves as the final ecclesiastical court of appeals.  
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*The General Assembly is the highest organizational body and serves as the final ecclesiastical court of appeals.  
*A Synod is made up of several presbyteries and serves as the court of appeals for those presbyteries.  
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*A Synod is made up of several presbyteries and serves as the court of appeals for those presbyteries.  
*A Presbytery is made up of several parishes and serves as the court of appeals for those parishes.  
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*A Presbytery is made up of several parishes and serves as the court of appeals for those parishes.  
*A parish is the lowest governing body.  
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*A parish is the lowest governing body.  
 
*A chapelry or chapel of ease is a small church which serves a distant part of a parish.
 
*A chapelry or chapel of ease is a small church which serves a distant part of a parish.
  
The two main types of records are '''Old Parochial Registers (OPR)''' and '''Kirk Session Records'''. OPR's list baptisms, marriages and burials. Kirk Session Records are the records of the Church Courts. They often list information relevant to genealogy.   
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The two main types of records are '''Old Parochial Registers (OPR)''' and '''Kirk Session Records'''. OPR's list baptisms, marriages and burials. Kirk Session records are the records of the Church Courts. They often list information relevant to genealogy.   
  
*Descriptions of parishes can be found at [http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/sct/ Genuki.org.uk].
+
*Descriptions of parishes can be found at:
*Maps showing parish boundaries to help determine which parish records to search
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**[http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/sct/ Genuki.org.uk]  
*Lists of neighboring parishes can be found at [http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/sct/ Genuki.org.uk].
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**[http://www.visionofbritain.org.uk/ VisionofBritain.org.uk]
*Civil Parishes and Counties of North East Scotland Showing Overall Dates of Old Parochial Records: Held in Edinburgh and Available Worldwide on Microfilm [Scotland]: Aberdeen and North East Scotland Family History Society''[ 198-]. ({{FHL|941 E7c|call number-id|disp=Family History Library Map Case 941 E7c pt. 4}}) ''
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*Lists of neighboring parishes can be found at:
*The Phillimore Atlas and Index of Parish Registers, 2nd ed. Chichester, England: Phillimore & Co. Ltd, 1995. ({{FHL|941E7pa|callnumberid|disp=Family History Library Book 941 E7pa}})
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**[http://www.genuki.org.uk/big/sct/ Genuki.org.uk]
*Parish Maps of Scotland. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1991. ({{FHL|6036350|Fiche-id|disp=Family History Library Book 941 E7ch; Fiche 6036350}})
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*Parish outline maps are also available online at:
*Phillips’ Handy Atlas of the Counties of Scotland 1881. London, England: G. Phillip, 1881. ({{FHL|941 E7p|call number-id|disp=Family History Library Book 941 E7p; Film 423175}})
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**[http://www.scotlandsfamily.com/parish-maps.htm Scotlandsfamily.com]
*Parish outline maps are also available online at [http://www.scotlandsfamily.com/parish-maps.htm http://www.scotlandsfamily.com/parish-maps.htm].
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*Atlas and index to parish registers can be found at:
 +
**[https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=8830 Great Britain, Atlas and Index of Parish Registers] ($)
 +
 
 +
*Printed Resources:
 +
**Books detailing the overall dates of old parochial records in civil parishes or counties in northeast Scotland (by the Aberdeen & North-East Scotland Family History Society) ({{FHL|941 E7c|call number-id|disp=FHL Map Case 941 E7c pt. 4}})
 +
**Parish Maps of Scotland. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1991. ({{FHL|6036350|Fiche-id|disp=FHL Book 941 E7ch}})
 +
**Phillips’ Handy Atlas of the Counties of Scotland 1881. London, England: G. Phillip, 1881. ({{FHL|941 E7p|call number-id|disp=FHL Book 941 E7p}})
  
 
=== Nonconformists ===
 
=== Nonconformists ===
  
Churches which are not part of the Church of Scotland are often referred to as nonconformist. There were two categories of so-called nonconformist churches in Scotland:  
+
Churches which are not part of the Church of Scotland are often referred to as nonconformist. By the 19th century a majority of the population was non-Conformist. There were two categories of so-called nonconformist churches in Scotland:  
  
 
*Seceders -- Those who seceded from the main church but were still Presbyterian in form.  
 
*Seceders -- Those who seceded from the main church but were still Presbyterian in form.  
*Dissenters -- Those who were not Presbyterian in form, such as Baptist, Methodist, or Catholic.
+
*Dissenters -- Those who were not Presbyterian in form, such as Episcopal, Methodist, or Catholic.
  
Nonconformists had their own congregations and kept their own records. They could go to church wherever they wished and were not confined to parish boundaries. However, before 1834, nonconformist ministers were not authorized to perform marriages as clergyman; after 1834 they could perform marriages if the banns had first been read in the parish church. Total authority was granted in 1855.In the context of Scots Law as it applied until 1939 this only in practice affected the mode of marriage as until then any declaration of marriage in front of witnesses was valid although many might have failed to be recorded.  
+
Nonconformists had their own congregations, with different boundaries to the Church of Scotland and kept their own records. However, before 1834, nonconformist ministers were not authorized to perform marriages as clergyman; after 1834 they could perform marriages if the banns had first been read in the parish church. Total authority was granted in 1855. In the context of Scots Law as it applied until 1939, this affected, only in practice, the mode of marriage because until then any declaration of marriage in front of witnesses was valid although many might have failed to be recorded.  
  
The [http://www.nas.gov.uk/ National Archives of Scotland] maintains these types of records under the following references: [http://www.gla.ac.uk/services/archives/news/dunaskinnews200207/sourcesforscottishchurchhistoryinthenas/ CH4-CH16.] A detailed description of the record types is available online at the [http://www.gla.ac.uk/services/archives/news/dunaskinnews200207/sourcesforscottishchurchhistoryinthenas/ University of Glasgow (Archive Services).]
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For more background information on churches in Scotland, including a historical timeline, read the article [[Scotland Church History|Scotland Church History]].
  
For more background information on churches in Scotland, including a historical time-line, read the article [[Scotland Church History|Scotland Church History]].
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== Accessing the Records ==
 
 
== Accessing Records ==
 
  
 
=== OPR ===
 
=== OPR ===
* All Church of Scotland OPRs can be accessed on the website of [[ScotlandsPeople]]. There is no fee to search for names, but there is a fee of several pounds per original image. The original images can also be browsed for free through the FamilySearch Catalog. You must be at a Family History Center or Affliate Library.
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*All Church of Scotland OPRs can be accessed on the ScotlandsPeople's [https://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/ website]. There is no fee to search for names, but there is a fee of several pounds per original image. The original images can also be browsed for free at FHCs and Affiliate Libraries through the [https://www.familysearch.org/catalog/search FamilySearch Catalog].
 
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*Microfilm and microfiche indexes are also available. See the article [[Scotland Old Parochial Registers (OPR)]] to learn more. Some records are also available in various collections on [https://www.familysearch.org/ FamilySearch]. To learn more:
* Microfilm and Microfiche indexes are also available. See the article [[Scotland Old Parochial Registers (OPR)]]
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**[[Scotland Births and Baptisms (FamilySearch Historical Records)|Scotland Births and Baptisms (FamilySearch Historical Records)]]
 
 
* Some records will have been included in the IGI, a sample of genealogical records from around the world. See:
 
**[[Scotland Births and Baptisms (FamilySearch Historical Records)|Scotland Births and Baptisms (FamilySearch Historical Records)]]  
 
 
**[[Scotland Marriages (FamilySearch Historical Records)|Scotland Marriages (FamilySearch Historical Records)]]
 
**[[Scotland Marriages (FamilySearch Historical Records)|Scotland Marriages (FamilySearch Historical Records)]]
* [http://www.freereg.org.uk/ FreeReg] is a site that transcribes records from across the UK. A few Scotland Church Records are included. No images are available.  
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*[http://www.freereg.org.uk/ FreeReg.org] is a site that transcribes records from across the UK. A few Scotland Church Records are included. No images are available.  
* Only about one half of Scotland's population aligned with or were members of the Church of Scotland. See below for guidance on discovering and tracing non-subscribing ancestors 
 
  
 
=== Kirk Sessions ===
 
=== Kirk Sessions ===
Very few of the records are available. ScotlandsPeople are in "the final stages" of making them available online.  
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*[http://www.oldscottish.com/records.html Oldscottish.com] - some non-parochial (Seceder church) register transcriptions, kirk sessions, and more ($)  
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Very few Kirk Sessions records are available online. ScotlandsPeople are in "the final stages" of making more of them available online. See this guide [https://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/research/guides/church-court-records-online Church Court Records] for more information. 
*[http://www.scottishindexes.com/coveragebmd.aspx ScottishIndexes]: has some court, and church register transcriptions for non-OPR (Old Parochial Registers)  
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*[https://www.familysearch.org/search/collection/2390848 Scotland Church Records and Kirk Session Records, 1658-1919]
*Accessible only in Scotland, via a small number of (authorized) regional archives only.  
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*[http://www.oldscottish.com/records.html Oldscottish.com] has some non-parochial (Seceder church) register transcriptions, kirk sessions, and more ($)  
 +
*[http://www.scottishindexes.com/coveragebmd.aspx ScottishIndexes] has some court and church register transcriptions for non-OPR (Old Parochial Registers)  
 +
*Kirk Sessions can also be obtained in person at regional archives throughout Scotland.
  
 
=== Non-Church of Scotland ===
 
=== Non-Church of Scotland ===
* [[ScotlandsPeople]] has many non-Presbyterian records located on their site in Edinburgh. Currently, these are only accessible on-site.
+
 
* [http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/Content/Help/index.aspx?r=554&1375 Catholic Parish Registers], index, ($).[https://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/advanced-search#{%22category%22:%22church%22,%22record%22:%22church-other%22} Scotlandspeople - 1742-1900] [http://www.scottishcatholicarchives.org.uk/ Scottish Catholic archive].Some Catholic Registers are held at the [http://www.nas.gov.uk/ National Archives of Scotland] with the identifier of <u>[http://www.nas.gov.uk/onlineCatalogue/ NAS REF: RH21]</u>.
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*[https://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/ ScotlandsPeople] has indexed most of the Roman Catholic parish registers throughout the country. These collections can be accessed on their [https://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/advanced-search#{%22category%22:%22church%22} Advanced Search] page. See this page for more information: [https://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/research/guides/catholic-parish-registers Catholic Parish Registers] A slight majority of other non-Church of Scotland denominational registers are available for searching in person or by record agent at the National Records of Scotland. A list of what is available is [https://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/guides/church-registers#Parishes here].
* FamilySearch.org  and its Family History Library in Salt Lake City, and some of it's satellite Family History Centers possess the OPR or Church of Scotland Records database (an old DOS-based index). Note:  FamilySearch.org many years ago obtained on microfilm collection of about 5-10% non-conformist/non-subscribing church registers. These church registers were indexed along with the Church of Scotland parochial registers and ''the data is included in this database.''
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*Other nonconformist databases include:
=== Mixed/Other ===
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**[https://search.findmypast.com/search-world-Records/scotland-roman-catholic-parish-baptisms Scotland Roman Catholic Parish Baptisms] ($)
*'''1647-1875''' - [http://search.findmypast.com/search-world-Records/scotland-non-old-parish-registers-vital-records-1647-1875 Scotland Non-Old Parish Registers Vital Records] at [http://findmypast.com findmypast.com] - Index ($)
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**[https://search.findmypast.com/search-world-Records/scotland-roman-catholic-parish-marriages Scotland Roman Catholic Parish Marriages] ($)
*[http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=1636 Gretna Green, Scotland, Marriage Registers, 1794 - 1895] ($)  
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**[https://search.findmypast.com/search-world-Records/scotland-roman-catholic-parish-burials Scotland Roman Catholic Parish Burials] ($)
*[https://www.myheritage.com/research/collection-10079/scottish-deaths-1747-1868?s=218489221 Scottish Deaths, 1747 - 1868], index, ($).
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**[https://search.findmypast.com/search-world-Records/scotland-non-old-parish-registers-vital-records-1647-1875 Scotland Non-Old Parish Registers Vital Records 1647-1875] ($)
 +
**[https://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=61544 Scotland, Extracted Parish Records, 1571-1997] ($)
 +
**[http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=1636 Gretna Green, Scotland, Marriage Registers, 1794-1895] ($)  
 +
**[https://www.myheritage.com/research/collection-10079/scottish-deaths-1747-1868?s=218489221 Scottish Deaths, 1747-1868] ($)
 +
*See "Research Guidance" below for important steps to take, to trace non-Church of Scotland ancestry.
  
 
== Research Guidance ==
 
== Research Guidance ==
  
'''Research Tutorials at FamilySearch:'''
+
'''FamilySearch Wiki Help for Non-Church of Scotland Church Records Research'''
*[https://familysearch.org/ask/learningViewer/241 '''Scotland's Old Parish Registers: How to Access, Use, and Interpret'''] - Parts 1 and 2
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*[[Steps For Tracing Scottish Ancestry Outside of The Church of Scotland|Steps For Tracing Scottish Ancestry Outside of The Church of Scotland]]
*[https://familysearch.org/ask/learningViewer/783 '''Using Church of Scotland Parochial Registers to trace Scots Ancestry''']
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'''Online Tutorials on FamilySearch:'''
*[https://familysearch.org/ask/learningViewer/338 '''www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk''']
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*[https://familysearch.org/ask/learningViewer/241 Scotland's Old Parish Registers: How to Access, Use, and Interpret] - Parts 1 and 2
*[https://familysearch.org/ask/learningViewer/510 '''British Resources on FamilySearch.org'''] - Parts 1 and 2
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*[https://familysearch.org/ask/learningViewer/783 Using Church of Scotland Parochial Registers to trace Scots Ancestry]
*[https://familysearch.org/ask/learningViewer/511 '''British Resources on Ancestry'''] - Parts 1 and 2
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*[https://familysearch.org/ask/learningViewer/338 www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk]
*[https://familysearch.org/ask/learningViewer/782 '''Scotland's Lost Other Half: Tracing Difficult Ancestral Lines in Scotland's Non-Parochial Register''']
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*[https://familysearch.org/ask/learningViewer/510 British Resources on FamilySearch.org] - Parts 1 and 2
*[[Steps For Tracing Scottish Ancestry Outside of The Church of Scotland]]
+
*[https://familysearch.org/ask/learningViewer/511 British Resources on Ancestry] - Parts 1 and 2
 +
*[https://familysearch.org/ask/learningViewer/782 Scotland's Lost Other Half: Tracing Difficult Ancestral Lines in Scotland's Non-Parochial Register]
  
[[Category:Church_records_in_Scotland]]
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[[Category:Scotland Church Records]]

Latest revision as of 19:41, 2 July 2018

Scotland Wiki Topics
Flag of Scotland.jpg
Beginning Research
Record Types
Scotland Background
Local Research Resources
Scotland
Church Records

For information about records for non-Christian religions in Scotland, go to the Religious Records page.

Church records are an excellent source for accurate information on names, dates, and places of birth, marriage, and death. Since civil registration in Scotland began in 1855, church records are a major source for genealogical research in Scotland before 1855.

Understanding the Records

United Presbyterian Church at Stonehouse, Scotland.jpg

Church of Scotland

See also: Scotland Established (Presbyterian) Church Records

The Church of Scotland (a Presbyterian church) has been the recognised national church of Scotland since 1690. It is not a state or "established" church (although that latter description has found its way into various official documentation such as marriage registers); that independence from the state was eventually acknowledged in the Church of Scotland Act 1921. The organization of the Church of Scotland is as follows:

  • The General Assembly is the highest organizational body and serves as the final ecclesiastical court of appeals.
  • A Synod is made up of several presbyteries and serves as the court of appeals for those presbyteries.
  • A Presbytery is made up of several parishes and serves as the court of appeals for those parishes.
  • A parish is the lowest governing body.
  • A chapelry or chapel of ease is a small church which serves a distant part of a parish.

The two main types of records are Old Parochial Registers (OPR) and Kirk Session Records. OPR's list baptisms, marriages and burials. Kirk Session records are the records of the Church Courts. They often list information relevant to genealogy.

  • Printed Resources:
    • Books detailing the overall dates of old parochial records in civil parishes or counties in northeast Scotland (by the Aberdeen & North-East Scotland Family History Society) (FHL Map Case 941 E7c pt. 4)
    • Parish Maps of Scotland. Salt Lake City, Utah: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1991. (FHL Book 941 E7ch)
    • Phillips’ Handy Atlas of the Counties of Scotland 1881. London, England: G. Phillip, 1881. (FHL Book 941 E7p)

Nonconformists

Churches which are not part of the Church of Scotland are often referred to as nonconformist. By the 19th century a majority of the population was non-Conformist. There were two categories of so-called nonconformist churches in Scotland:

  • Seceders -- Those who seceded from the main church but were still Presbyterian in form.
  • Dissenters -- Those who were not Presbyterian in form, such as Episcopal, Methodist, or Catholic.

Nonconformists had their own congregations, with different boundaries to the Church of Scotland and kept their own records. However, before 1834, nonconformist ministers were not authorized to perform marriages as clergyman; after 1834 they could perform marriages if the banns had first been read in the parish church. Total authority was granted in 1855. In the context of Scots Law as it applied until 1939, this affected, only in practice, the mode of marriage because until then any declaration of marriage in front of witnesses was valid although many might have failed to be recorded.

For more background information on churches in Scotland, including a historical timeline, read the article Scotland Church History.

Accessing the Records

OPR

Kirk Sessions

Very few Kirk Sessions records are available online. ScotlandsPeople are in "the final stages" of making more of them available online. See this guide Church Court Records for more information.

Non-Church of Scotland

Research Guidance

FamilySearch Wiki Help for Non-Church of Scotland Church Records Research

Online Tutorials on FamilySearch: